Posts Tagged ‘Reverie Sound Revue’

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Keep Shining

2010 Polaris Music Prize long list revealed

Photo By Christine LimChristine LimThough not technically related, yesterday afternoon’s announcement of this year’s Polaris Music Prize long list in the midst of all the NXNE hubbub was no coincidence. What better time to reveal the consensus cream of the Can-con crop than in the smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest festivals and conferences in the country? A perusal of the 40 albums that made the cut reveals a lot of the names I’d have expected, based on factors such as public profile, track record and oh yeah, artistic merit, though some others that I thought might have eked onto the list are absent and others that I thought would have been too under the radar to gather sufficient support have moved onto the next round.

Net result? An interesting and diverse list of albums that should provide sufficient grist for acclaim, angst and analysis, at least until the short list when it’s announced on July 6, and then the fun part – endless back and forth about which of the ten finalists should take home the $20,000 cheque – begins and continues until the winner is announced on September 20. For my part, since I was on the Grand Jury in 2008, my duties end this year with submission of my second ballot in a week’s time. And considering that I’ve only got one record from the first ballot that’s not still in the running and a pool of 36 records to choose from, that should be relatively easy. What’s that? What was on my first ballot? Well I’m glad you asked. In order, they were:

1. Shad / TSOL
In a perfect world, my Polaris ballot would write itself. Albums up for the title of “best in Canada” should announce themselves as such and not give you the option to not include it. Not a lot of records do this, but Shad’s third album did. Its blend of heart, humour and hooks are irresistible. TSOL demands its place on the long list, will almost certainly find its way on the short list and I give it good odds of going all the way.

MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”

2. Reverie Sound Revue / Reverie Sound Revue
I knew this album wouldn’t make the long list without some sort of divine intervention, but with each successive listen in the year or so since its release, it has won me over more and more. What it has is understatedly clever wordplay delivered by Lisa Lobsinger’s perfectly matched vocals overtop impeccably conceived and arranged jazzy pop sounds, and the fact that very little out there does what they do this well, from any country. What it doesn’t have is a band able to tour or otherwise promote it as it deserved, and that’s why I’m looking for a new fifth album for ballot #2. But this album should be heard.

MP3: Reverie Sound Revue – “Arrows”

3. Owen Pallett / Heartland
Just five years in, repeat short list nominees are hardly uncommon but we haven’t had a repeat winner yet. And with the name change before this record’s release, pedants could argue it wouldn’t be a repeat, but I digress. Truth is I don’t even know how much I like it – there’s so much going on that even months on I find myself overwhelmed and still haven’t fully absorbed it – but the artistic ambition and achievement of it transcends subjective opinion.

Video: Owen Pallett – “Lewis Takes His Shirt Off”

4. Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
What I said about the Shad record applies here as well, though not quite as emphatically. Some naysayers have criticized Mangan’s album for being just another indie-folk singer-songwriter record and technically, they’re quite correct. Which is why the degree to which Nice, Nice was able to stick and resonate for so long marks it as noteworthy. There’s unquestionably something going on here above and beyond what you get on paper.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

5. Basia Bulat / Heart Of My Own
Any reservations I had about nominating Basia’s second album amounted to it being so similar to Oh, My Darling and not yet being the masterpiece statement that I’m sure she has in her. But then I listened to it – and “The Shore” – again and tossed those reservations out the window. I don’t know that I’d go to the wall for it as best album of the year, but thankfully I don’t have to.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Chart talks basketball and TSOL with Shad, who’s at the Kool Haus with K’Naan on October 1.

The Toronto Star, JAM and Metro interview The Besnard Lakes.

Pitchfork talks to Black Mountain’s Stephen McBean. Their new record Wilderness Heart is out September 14 and they preview it at The Horseshoe on July 23.

Torq Campbell of Stars goes through The Five Ghosts, out next week, song-by-song for The National Post while Amy Milan talks about the new album with

The Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail and Vancouver Sun talk Twilight with Metric, who recorded an acoustic video session for The Fly. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9.

Ca Va Cool interviews The Meligrove Band. Their new record Shimmering Lights is out September 21.

Filter Q&A’s Tokyo Police Club, who’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 8.

Check out this Takeaway Show with Land Of Talk, whose new record Cloak & Cipher is out August 24. has a conversation with Liz Powell.

Wolf Parade are streaming the whole of their new record Expo 86 at their MySpace in advance of its June 29 release.

Stream: Wolf Parade / Expo 86

Diamond Rings has released the video for his new single – the most elaborate one so far – just in time for the 12″ release at Wrongbar tonight. He’s on at 11 and a certain peacock costume may well be making an appearance. His debut full-length Special Affections will be out in the Fall.

Video: Diamond Rings – “Show Me Your Stuff”

The Balconies have released the first video from their self-titled debut; they play the Wine & Spirits Festival in the Distillery District on Saturday evening.

Video: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”

A few show announcements to cap off the week – after first cancelling the Toronto date and then the whole tour back in May, reunited shoegaze forebears Chapterhouse have re-booked their North American tour for this Fall and T.O. is back on the agenda – this time it’s set for October 6 at Lee’s Palace, again with Ulrich Schnauss supporting.

Video: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”

If you look at my schedule for SxSW in March, you will see no less than seven Local Natives shows marked down, some of them flagged as “high priority”. Needless to say, I missed them all. I’ll finally get to make that up on October 19 when the Los Angeles outfit bring Gorilla Manor to town for a show at the Mod Club, tickets $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Local Natives – “Sun Hands”

Matt & Kim have slated a massive Fall tour that will include an October 29 show at The Phoenix. Yeah, they’re that big now.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Yeah Yea”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Dan Mangan, Will Currie & The Country French and The Sure Things at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs with pretty much every night last week, Friday came with a list of entertainment options a mile long, and while some more intrepid types tried to take in as much of it as possible via club and in-store hopping, I was content to settle in at the Rivoli for what promised to be an exceedingly solid night of music headlined by Vancouver’s Dan Mangan.

A bit of set time miscommunication meant missing much of The Sure Things’ set but I did manage to catch their last few numbers of energetic, straight-ahead, good-time country. In the short span I was there, I caught a spoon solo and covers of AC/DC and Talking Heads, done hoe-down style. They’re fixtures of a sort around town, with residencies at both Salvador Darling and The Cameron House and a CD release show for their new record Two Dollar Bottles at the Dakota on October 30.

Waterloo’s Will Currie & The Country French may have “country” in their names but that’s not an accurate descriptor – if we were doing things up literally, they’d be called “Will Currie & The ’70s AM Radio Piano Pop Anglos” but alas, we live in a world that accepts that sometimes one’s name can be deceptive. That aside, there’s little to dislike about Will Currie and his crew – upbeat piano-led tunes were the order of the day, accented nicely with saxophone and foot-on-monitor, classic rock-style lead guitar. There were hummable melodies a-plenty, but few of the big hooks that would make his tunes really memorable. The one exception was “Push Pins”, their collaboration with fellow pop purveyors (and label bosses) Sloan, whose Jay Ferguson made a special appearance to contribute vocals and tambourine to the tune, still in toque and coat and looking like he’d been literally pulled off the street 30 seconds earlier. That one sounded like a hit (in a world where great pop songs were still capable of becoming hits), and if Currie could string together a few more like that, he’d be onto something really special.

Dan Mangan could tell his tourmate a thing or two about being onto something special, as his latest Nice, Nice, Very Nice is precisely that. Even since writing a glowing review, the record has grown on me even more and I was plenty anxious to hear it done live. Somewhat surprising was that while Mangan was touring as a four-piece (I think the fifth player on stage was a Toronto-only guest), they were performing drummer-less, instead building their sound with strings, keys and horns and while I’m sure it’d have sounded just as great with a conventional timekeeper in back, this setup seemed perfect for conveying and emphasizing the warm, easy, laid back feel of the material. And it’s that warmth that came across most strongly in the show – Mangan has a sharp, observational eye and if he chose to, could probably deliver it with just as sharp a tongue but there’s no mistaking the genuine affection for the characters that inhabit his songs, rich with both humour and sadness. It’s the same sort of gift that John K Samson possesses and while Mangan prefers a more rootsy vehicle for his tunes, Weakerthans comparisons are not out of line and should be taken as compliments.

The show covered much/most of Very Nice and the main set was capped off with a rousing, “Robots” where they pulled out a large toy robot rescued from a Sarnia thrift store and sent it on an entertaining crowd surf for the duration of the song, and this it was able to do easily, because the Rivoli was well and properly packed for the show. It was obvious that Mangan has already built himself a sizable fanbase, but there was also a sense that this show was catching him on the cusp of bigger things – at least if Very Nice gets the attention it deserves. So even if I’m a latecomer to the man and his work, it was nice to be able to catch him at this moment. Very nice indeed.

Singing Lamb and Metro have interviews with Dan Mangan.

Photos: Dan Mangan, Will Currie & The Country French, The Sure Things @ The Rivoli – October 16, 2009
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
MP3: Will Currie & The Country French + Sloan – “Push Pins”
Video: Dan Mangan – “The Indie Queens Are Waiting”
Stream: Dan Mangan / Roboteering
Stream: Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
MySpace: Dan Mangan
MySpace: Will Currie & The Country French

Coeur de Pirate has released a new video from her self-titled debut.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Pour un infidele”

Also check out the new vid from Reverie Sound Revue, taken from their self-titled debut.

Video: Reverie Sound Revue – “You Don’t Exist If I Don’t See You”

Do Make Say Think have scheduled two nights at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront on December 12 and 13 in support of their new record Other Truths. Tickets are $16 and are on sale now.

Great Lake Swimmmers have set a date for Trinity-St Paul’s on February 6 of next year. There’s interviews with Tony Dekker at The Daily Times and Express Night Out.

Chad Van Gaalen gives The Georgia Straight an idea of where his head is at right now and where it might go for his next record.

Metric’s Emily Haines talks to The Montreal Gazette and recounts her top five Toronto gigs for The National Post. They close out a two-night stand at Massey Hall tonight.

Woodpigeon are sending the equivalent of aural postcards from their recent visit to Ottawa and their ongoing residency at the Banff Centre (an experience which Mark Hamilton described as, “holy shit”), posting new songs to their website almost daily. Something to keep your ears warm until their next record Die Stadt Muzikanten arrives on January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “In The Mountains”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “You’re My Only Home” (Magnetic Fields cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Asleep & Dreaming” (Magnetic Fields cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “85”

Joel Gibb of The HIdden Cameras tells Chartattack their next album might take some dub directions. In the meantime, they will tour Origin: Orphan around North America, ending with a December 5 show at the Opera House.

Friday, September 25th, 2009


The Antlers at Criminal Records in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEverything I have to say about The Antlers’ record Hospice has already been said, so I’ll focus squarely on their live performance which I was able to witness yesterday evening despite opting to see Joe Pernice at the Dakota rather than their show at the Horseshoe, thanks to their booking an in-store at Criminal Records before either got underway.

While they could easily have gotten away with doing something simple, short and stripped-down, the fairly packed store was instead treated to something akin to a full and proper set, fully plugged-in and running 40 minutes plus. And it’s just as well, because that extra volume and amplification was crucial to the impact of the set (not to mention allowing keyboardist Darby Cicci to be heard at all). Where the recorded versions of the songs were built on foundation of tension and delicacy, the live renderings were much grandiose in scale – bigger and bolder without compromising the fragile atmospherics so integral to the songs. Rather than evoking images of hospitals, they felt like cathedrals, and perhaps most importantly, felt more uplifting than despairing. The lyrical content of the songs didn’t come across so pointedly, instead taking a back seat to the rawer, more visceral impact of the sound.

So while sorry to have missed their show proper, I’m thankful to have caught close to a proper show and still got to see Joe Pernice, all before the cold which has been stalking me the last couple weeks finally took me victim. Achoo.

Photos: The Antlers @ Criminal Records – September 24, 2009
MP3: The Antlers – “Two”
MP3: The Antlers – “Two” (remastered)
MP3: The Antlers – “Bear”
MP3: The Antlers – “The Universe Is Going To Catch You”
MP3: The Antlers – “On the Roof”
MP3: The Antlers – “Stairs To The Attic”
MP3: The Antlers – “Cold War”
MP3: The Antlers – “Keys”
Video: The Antlers – “Two”
MySpace: The Antlers

And if you opted to see The Antlers last night rather than Pernice, know that Joe will be making an appearance at Word On The Street this Sunday at Queen’s Park. Not performing, but being interviewed at 4PM – though there’s nothing to say he won’t spontaneously break out into song. Details in his cover feature from this week’s eye.

SFAppeal, The Dallas Observer and The Arizona Daily Star talk to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

School Of Seven Bells’ Alpinisms, a highlight of 2008, will be getting a re-release with a second disc of remixes and alternate takes on October 13 – almost just in time for their Fall tour which brings them to Lee’s Palace in Toronto on October 15. Pitchfork has one of the tracks from the bonus disc available to download. The Diamondback and Austinist have interviews with the band.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Iamundernodisguise” (alternate version)

The Hook questions Decemberist Chris Funk.

Spin questions. Monsters Of Folk answer. On November 2, they perform at Massey Hall.

Austinst talks to John Vanderslice, who’s made a demo MP3 from Romanian Names available to download in support of an upcoming 7″ single for “Too Much Time” due out October 6.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time” (demo)

Good news – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists will have a new record out in the early part of next year. Better news – it’s coming out on Matador.

To anyone thinking about attending the October 24 White Rabbits show – note that it has been moved from the Drake to the Horseshoe, and rather than an early show it’s now a regular/late show. Adjust your plans accordingly. You have a month to do so.

Soundproof talks to Reverie Sound Revue.

There’s a new MP3 available from The Wooden Sky’s new album If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone – they’re at Lee’s Palace on November 13. The Sudbury Star talks to frontman Gavin Gardiner.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Bit Part”

Spinner gets to know Dog Day and suggests you do the same. They’re at the Horseshoe on November 5.

Young Galaxy have set a date at the Horseshoe for November 13, tickets $10.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Long Live The Fallen World”

Mew have released a new video from No More Stories.

Video: Mew – “Repeaterbeater”

Filter chats in two parts with Mum, who’ve also made Magnet a mix tape. They’re at the Phoenix on October 27.

MP3: Mum – “Illuminated”

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The Good News

The Mountain Goats find religion, testify about Life Of The World To Come

Photo By Chrissy PiperChrissy PiperThe Mountain Goats have revealed (revelated?) details of their next album and rather than utilize more of his typically cryptic or obscure song titles, John Darnielle has instead opted to name all twelve songs on The Life Of The World To Come after Bible verses. Whether these are meant as shorthand for each song’s real, divinely-inspired title or if he’s just drawing thematic parallels is unclear, but what’s for certain is that the title of the first released MP3, linked below, is easier to say (and type) than “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (that’s the referenced verse, I looked it up online. I’m not quoting scripture from memory, goodness no).

In a posting announcing the new record on their website announcing the new album, along with production details and the October 6 release date, Darnielle denies he’s found religion in any conventional sense or is planning on railing against it with the new record, but will expound more on how it has inspired the new record in the near future. He’s also just announced a slew of Fall dates which will have Final Fantasy, who did string arrangements on the new record, as support. There’s no local date as yet – perhaps because Final Fantasy would possibly be a larger draw in his hometown than the headliner, and that’s just awkward. But I’m sure the Goats will be up this way to spread their gospel sooner or later so in the meantime, just enjoy the new track and give praise to whatever or whomever you choose that there’s a new Mountain Goats record en route. Hallelujah!

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Genesis 3:23”

My copy of the book has yet to move to the top of my to-read queue and my copy of the album is in a USPS/Canada Post mailbag somewhere so I can’t talk too much about either of Joe Pernice’s new project It Feels So Good When I Stop but will hope to be all caught up before his show at the Dakota Tavern on September 24. In the meantime, read up on it with feature pieces on Joe at The Patriot Ledger, Blurt, The Boston Globe, Things I’d Rather Be Doing, The Boston Herald, Metro, The New York Post and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Ohbijou are this month’s cover story in Exclaim and the band have announced Fall cross-Canada tour but if you think that there’s not going to be a hometown show either in that three day gap between Ottawa and Sudbury or when the whole thing’s over in late November, you’re taking crazy pills.

Ca Va Cool has an interview with the The Rural Alberta Advantage and Laundromatinee has a video feature on the band. By all accounts, last week’s show at the Horseshoe was pretty special – can’t wait to see them again, albeit in what’s probably an absurdly large stage, at V Fest on August 29.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with The Coast. They’re at the Horseshoe on Thursday night.

Spinner has the next installment in the Reverie Sound Revue blog tour, a performance of “The Leisure Lost”.

Check out the new video from Mew taken from No More Stories, out August 25. They’ll be at V Fest on August 30.

Video: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”

Pitchfork has premiered the first MP3 from The Raveonettes, whose In And Out Of Control is due October 6 and who will be at the Phoenix on October 22.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Suicide”

The Manic Street Preachers’ first North American tour in a decade, including an October 4 date at the Phoenix, will indeed be in support of a domestic release – the excellent Journal For Plague Lovers will be out in North America on September 15.

Charlotte Hatherley’s new album New Worlds has been given a UK release date of October 19 – hoping the North American release will be October 20 and those long-ago promises of promotion and touring on this side of the Atlantic still hold. There’s an interview with Hatherley at Spoonfed.

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “Colours”

Hatherley’s sometimes-day job Bat For Lashes have released a new vide from Two Suns. Filter also has a feature interview with Natasha Khan.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “Sleep Alone”

Another Mercury prize nominee with a new video is Florence & The Machine. Someone certainly got themselves a production budget.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Drumming Song”

NOW has an interview with La Roux, who is also included in this “Brit Pop Girls” feature at Interview along with Little Boots and Ladyhawke.

Paper talks to Polly Scattergood.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Golden Phone

Micachu & The Shapes at the El Mocambo in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTo this point, whenever I’ve mentioned London’s Micachu, I’ve been sure to mention my ambivalence towards their debut album Jewellery and my inability to discern if it’s great or, well, not so great. But I think the fact that I keep going back to it rather than just discard it and move onto any of the countless other records within arm’s reach says a lot about what my gut says, as does the fact that this past Tuesday night, an evening with no shortage of entertainment options that were pretty much guaranteed to be great, I opted to head to the El Mocambo to see Micachu & The Shapes make their Toronto debut – a decidedly less safe bet, but one that could potentially pay off immensely.

For reasons unknown, opener Anni Rossi dropped off the bill at the last minute – I’d seen her just a few weeks prior so I wasn’t too disappointed – and a local act by name of Animal Monster was tagged to open. And if it were the sort of show where people might have been inclined to dance, then he and his setup of sequencers and samplers might have fit, but with people seated comfortably at tables, his repetitive dance beats with keyboard melodies overtop were just monotonous. At first, some heads were bobbing but before long, they were just hanging in resignation.

Things perked up once Animal Monster shuffled off, with the respectably-sized crowd gathering at the front of the stage to examine Micachu’s unusual stage setup – after all, its not often you see upturned wine bottles mounted on cymbal stands or empty paint cans as part of a percussion kit, and that doesn’t even include the homemade instruments that they kept with them backstage. So given the kitchen sink clatter aesthetic of the record and the similarly random nature of the band’s gear, it would have been understandable to assume that Micachu’s show would be more about making a gleeful cacophony than anything else, and while their performance was indeed gleeful, it was far from chaotic.

Actually what was most impressive about their show – and pretty much all of it was enjoyable and impressive – was how precise and meticulous they were about crafting what, on the surface, seemed to be so random. They were like a musical junk shop transformed into an elaborate sonic Rube Goldberg contraption, the payoff being completely left-field compositions that were still undeniably pop. Mica Levy and her bandmates, in matching white t-shirts, had their hands full recreating much of the fuzzy textures, details and cul de sacs of the recorded versions – far more than I’d expected – and seemed to be having a great time, appreciative of the enthusiastic crowd, when they weren’t utterly intent on the work at hand. With only one record’s worth of material to draw from, the show was understandably short, clocking in at well under an hour, but they did deliver everything they had and that was plenty. No more hedging. Micachu is great.

eye was also at the show, was also impressed.

Photos: Micachu & The Shapes @ The El Mocambo – July 14, 2009
MP3: Micachu – “Lips”
Video: Micachu – “Golden Phone”
Video: Micachu – “Lips”
MySpace: Micachu

Micachu has also teamed up with Alessi’s Ark, Sinead O’Connor and Roisin Murphy and Chaka Khan’s to cover Khan’s “I Am Every Woman” in support of ActionAid UK’s 6 Degrees project for womens rights. There’s also a remix of the track by Ladytron, a free Bat For Lashes live MP3 if you invite some friends to the site and a video of Micachu performing “Waste” at the Six Degrees launch party at the ICA in London. Go, download, listen, read and spread the word.

MP3: 6 Degrees – “I’m Every Woman” (Ladytron remix)
Video: Micachu – “Waste” (live at the ICA)

Filter tracks the working relationship of PJ Harvey and John Parish through the years, up to this year’s A Woman A Man Walked By.

Art Brut’s Eddie Argos declares his love of the Scott Pilgrim comics at Playback:StL – imagine how excited he’ll be when he learns that the Lee’s Palace stage they’ll be playing on August 12 just recently hosted the filming of the Clash At Demonhead scene for the Scott Pilgrim movie!

Two Hours Traffic have released the title track from their next album Territory, out September 8, as a free download.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”

Part four of the Reverie Sound Revue blog tour is now up at The Tape Is Not Sticky, featuring “You Don’t Exist If I Don’t See You” from their self-titled debut.

Spinner has published the second part of their feature series on the past, present and future of Canadian independent music – this chapter focuses on the world of Broken Social Scene.

Thanks to Slowcoustic for pointing out this Camera Music video featuring The Rural Alberta Advantage performing in a bus shelter on Queen St and the Drake Hotel’s patio. New video blog Morning Noon Night also digs up some live footage of the band in a basement at a Canadian Musicfest after-party back in March, and also check out their primo placement in the trailer for the new Alicia Silverstone/Alanis Morissette comedy – man, that film is going to be so quirky! There’s also an interview with the band at the Omaha World-Herald – their next local gig is at the Horseshoe on July 30 and then they’ll be at V Fest on August 29.

And tangentially, eye talks to the folks at, who are responsible for hosting the above video series and a wealth of other terrific Canadian music video (but not “music video”) content.

Two more acts playing V Fest – Scandinavians both – have just released new MP3s. Denmark’s Mew have a new one from No More Stories, out August 25, via NME and Norway’s Datarock are sharing a track from their new one Red through Spinner.

MP3: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”
MP3: Datarock – “True Stories”

Flavorwire checks in with The Raveonettes, who are working on their new record In and Out of Control in hopes of an October release.

NPR has a studio session with Loney Dear – they’re at the Horseshoe on October 13.

And also on that bill is Anna Ternheim, who has released a first MP3 from her new album Leaving On A Mayday, out August 11. Also check out the video of an acoustic performance of the same song.

MP3: Anna Ternheim – “What Have I Done”
Video: Anna Ternheim – “What Have I Done” (acoustic)

Interview talks to Phoenix.